Near perfect pitching leads Gators past Urban Knights

The SF State baseball team defeated the Academy of Art Urban knights 5-1 Saturday at Maloney Field.

It was virtually mistake-free baseball, and a dominant performance by starting pitcher Matt Hernandez, that improved the Gators’ record to 4-4 on the season.

Third: Matthew Hernandez (32), pitcher for the SF State Gators baseball team throws a strike during the game against the Academy of Art University Urban Knights on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Maloney Field. (Eric Chan / Xpress)

Third: Matthew Hernandez (32), pitcher for the SF State Gators baseball team throws a strike during the game against the Academy of Art University Urban Knights on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Maloney Field. (Eric Chan / Xpress)

The Gators only error on the day aided the Urban Knights in taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the defense was flawless the rest of the game.

In the second inning, first basemen Chad Thurston knocked in the Gators first run, tying the game at one. The Gators gained the lead after catcher Carter Gambrell tagged up on a foul out by left fielder Alex Kotheimer.

The offense continued to do their part, taking the Urban Knights’ pitching staff for 11 hits, but it was Hernandez that denied them any shot of coming back.

The sophomore was outstanding in his third start of the season. He pitched seven and two-thirds innings, surrendering six hits and one run. He tallied four strikeouts and zero walks.

“The defense played really well,” Hernandez said. “They really kept me in there. The fact that I threw more strikes than balls this time was great.”

Thurston, who went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored, said the team played well on both sides of the ball, which is something the Gators have struggled to do so far this season.

“(Our) defense has been a little shaky the past couple series, but we’re starting to lock down on that,” Thurston said. “Bats are starting to come alive and it’s all starting to tie together.”

Through their first four games, the Gator defense averaged 3.5 errors. The unit has managed to cut that average down to just .75 in the last four games.

Head coach Tony Schifano said the team has turned things around after being swept by Fresno Pacific University last week.

“We won the series,” Schifano said. “That was the goal. Now you try to do something special, and that’s sweep the series.”

The Gators will go for the sweep against the Urban Knights tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Laney College in Oakland.

Andrew Breen (2), infielder for the SF State Gators baseball team successfully steals a base after a wild pitch during the game against the Academy of Art University Urban Knights on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Maloney Field. (Eric Chan / Xpress)

Andrew Breen (2), infielder for the SF State Gators baseball team successfully steals a base after a wild pitch during the game against the Academy of Art University Urban Knights on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Maloney Field. (Eric Chan / Xpress)

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